I am probably unusual in this regard, but I sometimes find myself going weeks or even months at a time without ever driving out of Washington County. I am plenty busy, doing life with the church and the family, etc. At these times, I often whimsically look at Route 81 south when I get off at exit #1 in Williamsport and just wish I could keep on driving! Just to cross the Potomac would be so cool! Go somewhere. Do something. Begin an adventure! A journey to a wonderful goal, with untold excitements along the way!
But life itself is an adventure, although much of the time it just seems to be the living out of predefined responsibilities. And sometimes, the adventure of life takes some unanticipated twists and turns. There are exhilarating moments of love and romance, but often also the longer-term disappointments of relationships gone awry. There are the wonderful days of new life when children come into the home, but a new level of pain never before experienced when these people we love so much are desperately ill, or become involved in lifestyle choices that crush our hearts.
A favorite actor that I have enjoyed over the years is Billy Crystal (how could I not love a guy who shares my passion for baseball?). And I especially liked the City Slickers films, as they address some of the questions and issues that arrive upon our mindscapes in the middle of life. Crystal (Mitch Robbins) and his friends are dealing with the humdrum rhythms of daily life routines. They decide to go on an adventure vacation they read about in a brochure – a two-week Southwestern cattle drive from New Mexico to Colorado. Upon arriving, the three friends demonstrate their lack of cowboy skills; but they gradually learn to rope and ride as they discuss their childhood hopes and adult disappointments.
When the crusty old veteran cowboy “Curly” and Mitch (Billy Crystal) are riding alone one day to round up some stray cattle, Curly explains that all of the stuff in life “don’t mean nothing” if you know the one thing that is the meaning of life. The Billy Crystal character asks what that one thing is. Curly tells Mitch he has to find that out for himself.
As God’s people we need to see and believe that the “one thing” is a living and dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ… a relationship that begins in this life and carries over into the world to come – with you as a full partner with God, in Christ, of the big story God is writing for all eternity. That has to affect everything about you! Every thought you have! Every plan you make! Every moment of your life! You are on the greatest adventure of all time – THE ADVENTURE. Let that thought change you and challenge you in terms of your every priority. So saddle up your horses, this is THE GREAT ADVENTURE!
PHP 3:7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Understand however that the adventure involves more than just good times. There is pain, loss, deprivation, periods of sadness, monstrous challenges! But you will arrive in the end… just gotta stay in the saddle! But we need to face the reality that the journey is a treacherous one.
The end is worth it all! We are not there yet, and none of us may even know what circuitous and difficult paths we may have to take along the road of “this Christian life.” But, like Paul who suffered many difficulties in the midst of his joyful service, we must fix our eyes on the prize at the end. He said in Philippians 3:13-14 …
13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.